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Steve Squyres
ATHENA Science Team Principal Investigator
Cornell University, NY

Steve Squyres is a planetary astronomer, and leader of the ATHENA science team whose instruments ride on the Mars Exploration Rovers. Indeed, Steve thinks of the entire rover as a scientific instrument, a robotic geologist who can travel where, for now, no humans can, allowing us to see through its eyes, and grasp Mars, through its mechanical arm. Steve is himself an energetic and well-traveled geologist, whose search for life in extreme environments has taken him to Antarctica, and whose "people skills" have seen him chair prestigious NASA advisory committees. His awards include the American Astronomical Society's Harold Urey Prize for outstanding achievement by a young scientist. For now, however, the Mars Exploration Rovers mission is his "baby"... second only to his actual family, back in Ithaca, NY, where he's a professor at Cornell. For the past few years he's been traveling about once a week to JPL from the East Coast, and now (in Spring 2003) is spending much time at Cape Canaveral. Yet also, once a week, he writes an online Journal about what's been happening in the development of the Mars Exploration Rovers mission. At the ever-growing ATHENA site, hosted at Cornell, you can find an archive of the Mars Exploration Rovers mission (and its predecessor) stretching back several years. In fact, ATHENA began as a set of instruments to ride on board a 2001 rover mission, subsequently cancelled after the loss of NASA's Mars 1998 orbiter and lander.

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